Medical Marijuana May Soon Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation Under Limited Circumstances

Workers Comp Medical Marijuana.Access to Medicine

N.J. lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that would require insurers to pay the cost of medical marijuana for those prescribed it.[1] Medical marijuana is used to treat several conditions, like seizures, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer’s, among others.[2] Since Governor Jon Corzine signed into law in 2010 the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, persons with certain conditions have been able to use it for treatment.[3] Not only would the bill cover workers’ comp, but it would also extend towards health or auto insurance providers.[4]

A Driver of Change?

Medical marijuana has often been touted as an effective alternative to the use of opioids. The amount of drug-overdose deaths attributed to opioids stood at 46,802 in 2018.[5] Lawmakers who are advancing this bill have touted it to be less expensive, and less addictive than opioids.[6] The National Institute on drug abuse, in particular, found no causal connection between varying medical marijuana laws, more restrictive or broader, and prescription opioid use outcomes. They state that the data do not support the interpretation that access to cannabis reduces opioid overdose.”[7]

National Crisis

Nonetheless, opioid overdose is a leading cause of death in the United States and plays a part in medical malpractice suits. Many have lost loved ones due to the prescription of painkillers by a medical professional, albeit at a higher than acceptable dosage, or simply due to the continuation of the drug due to addiction. It is a controversial method of treatment and encountering ways to combat this crisis should be welcomed.

[1] Childers, Angela. “N.J. to Weigh Bill Requiring Comp to Cover Medical Marijuana.” Business Insurance, Business Insurance Holdings, 28 Oct. 2020, www.businessinsurance.com/article/20201028/NEWS08/912337419/New-Jersey-to-weigh-bill-requiring-comp-to-cover-medical-marijuana-workers-compe.

[2] Ratini, Melinda. “What Is Medical Marijuana Used for?” WebMD, WebMD LLC., 20 Aug. 2020, www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/qa/what-is-medical-marijuana-used-for.

[3] Roger, Morgan. “The History of Marijuana in New Jersey.” Civilized, Civilized, www.civilized.life/articles/history-of-marijuana-in-new-jersey/.

[4] Moore, Chris. “New Jersey Lawmakers Advance Bill to Require Insurers to Cover Medical Cannabis Costs.” MERRY JANE, MERRY JANE, 28 Oct. 2020, merryjane.com/news/new-jersey-lawmakers-advance-bill-to-require-insurers-to-cover-medical-cannabis-costs.

[5] “Drug Overdose Deaths.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html.

[6] Jaeger, Kyle. “New Jersey Lawmakers Approve Bill Providing Medical Marijuana Patient Insurance Benefits.” Marijuana Moment, Marijuana Moment LLC and Tom Angell, 27 Oct. 2020, www.marijuanamoment.net/new-jersey-lawmakers-approve-bill-providing-medical-marijuana-patient-insurance-benefits/.

[7] “Is Marijuana Safe and Effective as Medicine?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, July 2020, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-safe-effective-medicine.

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